It seems that no matter what we do we just can’t prevent all scam telephone calls. Placing your number on the do-not-call list and keeping your telephone number unlisted are old techniques that just don’t work as well as they used to. Telemarketing scams are everywhere and everyone with a phone eventually gets them. The good news is that most calls can be stopped. The bad news is that many scam telephone calls will always be an issue.
Who Called Me
The biggest problem with scam telephone calls is not knowing who is calling. Caller ID information can, and usually is, faked. Callers perpetrating these scams are trained to lie about where and who they are. And telephone numbers are routed through fake or complicit companies making the numbers very difficult to track to their real source.
To compound the problem, telephone companies are not only complicit in allowing these con artists to operate, but in many cases, actively conceal the true identities of these criminals. Indeed, because scam telemarketers pay telephone companies many millions of dollars every year, telephone companies are eager to assist them in ripping off unsuspecting consumers.
FTC Complaints, Attorney General Complaints, and FBI Investigations
The FTC, state attorneys general, and the FBI all advertise ways to file complaints against scam telemarketers. I can’t figure out why, however. These agencies do very little to actually stop scam telemarketing. Sure they occasionally file small lawsuits, pursue minor criminal charges, or take insignificant administrative action against the callers but they rarely, if ever, go after the telephone companies involved in the scams and criminal prosecutions are few and far between. If these agencies were more active we would eventually see a meaningful reduction in scam telephone calls. Cutting off the head of a snake is an effective way to kill it after all.
For consumers, it is difficult and often impossible to file lawsuits against these scam telemarketers. Identifying the company involved is the key. Once you identify the specific company responsible for calling you illegally you can take legal action but collecting any judgment you get is another barrier you will face. Scam telemarketers are very good at hiding and protecting assets. Yes, these criminals are very rich and they have no problem holding money in offshore accounts, fraudulent companies, and even in the names of spouses or other close relatives. They are also very good at filing bankruptcy and unreasonably encumbering assets to make themselves judgment proof. Legitimate telemarketers like Mortgage Investors Corporation are easier to locate but even they are getting better at escaping accountability for abusive telemarketing practices.
Scam Telephone Calls Conclusion
In a perfect world scam telephone calls would never occur. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect. Rip-off con artists are getting better at escaping liability for stealing from consumers and they are growing increasingly efficient in doing so. If you are a victim of a scam telephone call, document the calls and contact a consumer law attorney to see if he can help. In many cases a good attorney can track down the source of the calls and seek compensation on your behalf. The FBI, FTC, and state attorneys general can’t effectively stop these calls but, in many cases, you can.